National Grower Group Extension Plan & Capacity Building

National Grower Group Extension Plan & Capacity Building

About the Project

Building grower group capacity by developing and implementing a national strategic approach to more effectively deliver extension that drives the adoption of innovation and sustainable farm practices in broadacre agriculture.

This project takes a bottom-up approach, enabling engagement by delivering via established networks and allowing activities to be targeted to regional needs.

Support will be provided for those who are already engaged in ‘helping themselves’ to improve the adoption of new technology and extension services in their community and their farm businesses.


  • Funder: Australian Government’s National Landcare Program

  • Date: January 2019 - June 2023

  • Project Lead: Mark Stanley

  • Budget: $270,000

  • Project Team

    Annabelle Bushell, WA Grower Group Alliance; Chris Souness, Birchip Cropping Group; Di Parsons, Central West Farming Systems; Jon Midwood, Southern Farming Systems; Cindy Cassidy, Farmlink; Ruth Nettle, University of Melbourne; Jeanette Long, Ag Consulting Co

Further Information

Grower groups and their support structures face many future challenges. There is a critical need for greater capacity across the industry to support these structures. There is an emerging new generation of industry personnel who require mentoring and training to fill the needs of the industry. Some of the specific challenges include:

  • leadership and capacity challenges for the future viability of groups;
  • accessing skilled personnel to provide effective leadership, management and technical skills for the operations of the groups;
  • managing erratic funding cycles and incomes to keep the momentum of the groups going;
  • ability to work across regions and collaborate with other groups in a coordinated fashion to build cost-efficient initiatives that address similar issues and to share resources;
  • developing and maintaining adequate governance in the group structure to minimise organisational risk.
  • Embedding processes based on robust social science concepts and frameworks into extension projects

PROJECT LEGACY - Building a lasting National Grower Group Network

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This investment will bring to fruition a national grower group network for broadacre agriculture that will have ongoing trust and capability to deliver sustainable agriculture outcomes more effectively for rural communities, developing resilient farming systems that are more equipped to deal with the vagaries of climate and consumer demands, resulting in a more a productive and profitable agriculture industry.

The project will provide the capacity building that is necessary to ensure future investments in RD&E are delivered more effectively.

A properly skilled and linked national grower group network will have the capability to develop and deliver more effectively in a collaborative manner, leading to the faster adoption of sustainable agricultural practices.

The project will lead to the development of stronger community leadership, including effective engagement with young people involved in the industry.